Over the past few months I’ve had a lot of fun, and I admit sometimes frustrations, working on all of these cooking firsts. I’ve made fresh pasta, a spin on chicken salad and even created a recipe for fruit filled cupcakes. These are things I would read about in cookbooks and see on cooking shows, but until recently I never thought I could accomplish these recipes, let alone create my own. With your support and help from family and friends I’ve finally gained more confidence in the kitchen, and it feels so good.
My hubby has been extremely instrumental in bringing out my inner cook and getting me into the kitchen. He’s very patient and willing to share his cooking knowledge with me. Last weekend he agreed to show me and let me photograph how he smokes chicken on the grill. The whole process was relatively easy and the food turned out juicy and flavorful. You have to try this!
1. Light charcoal in grill without lighter fluid, this is essential for maintaining the flavor.
2. Soak your choice of wood chips in water for a minimum of one hour, this prevents the wood from instantly catching fire and produces more smoke. We used apple wood chips.
3. When the coals glow white hot it’s ready. There will be a hot zone in the middle of the charcoal, place the wood chips on the outside in the cooler zone.
4. Season your chicken with salt and pepper. We also used Lawry’s seasoned salt.
5. Place chicken on the grill skin side down and cover. Close the vents on the grill, snuffing out any flames. Let the chicken sit for 5-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the hot zone.
6. Once you have a good sear on the chicken turn and move to the cool zone. Cover.
7. Crack open the top and bottom vents of the grill to let the smoke billow throughout.
You’ll notice the chicken will turn a golden yellow color but it will need more time to cook. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
8. Once the chicken is at 165 degrees F (www.foodsaftey.gov) remove from the grill and place on a platter.
Serve in true Illinois style with roasted or baked potatoes, baked beans and your choice of pasta salads. True I didn’t do this one totally on my own, but now I’m confident that I can. Happy grilling/smoking!